|Hakodate, Hokkaido - Yunokawa Onsen
Hakodate was a great change from Tokyo! I walked out of the station and the first thing I thought was "The air is transparent!", as opposed to translucent in Tokyo - except after a typhoon or other powerful wind. The next impression was a lack of crowd pressure - lots of open space in front of the station and no crowds, just a few people walking about without bumping into each other. "Paradise!" I exclaimed! Later I explored the streetcar system, which took me to Yunokawa Onsen - where the pictures above were taken.
(Above and below) - The path between the streetcar stop and the hot spring resort hotels in the Yunokawa Onsen area. (Top middle picture above) - A glimpse through the entrance doors of a hotel of a traditional style garden behind the hotel.
Walking along Same-kawa River - leading to and from the Yukawa Onsen area.(Below) - The nearest streetcar stop to the Yukawa Onsen area. (Far right below) - Boarding the streetcar for the trip back towards the Hakodate Station area.
(Left below) - A very old streetcar (seen through the window) running just for the tourist season. This streetcar began life in Chiba (next to Tokyo) in 1910 and was sold to Hakodate (one of five) in 1918. In 1934, there was a fire that destroyed all of them save one - which is the one in the picture below. It was renovated in 1993 and now is put on the rails from April to October. I wanted to ride in it, but was on my way to meet someone, so settled for a look at it through the windows of the streetcar I was on as the two streetcars passed by each other going in opposite directions. (I also saw it from street level a couple of times, but didn't get my camera out quickly enough to get any good pictures.)
(Middle above) - For the cost of about three streetcar tickets, you can buy an all day pass that comes with a map showing what's at each of the stops. It's quite a bargain and the streetcars are fun to ride - especially the old ones with wooden floors and openable windows.
(Above) - Riding the streetcar down to near the waterfront, and then walking the last stretch to the water (below).
The top of the mountain hidden in a low-lying cloud is the most famous spot for taking photos of Hakodate - provided the clouds (fog almost) lift up high enough!
(Below left) - Looking across the bay. (Below right) - Further along the waterfront towards Hakodate Station - the old brick warehouses in the picture have been converted into shops and restaurants. Very touristy, but interesting nonetheless.
Copyright 2006 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo